Posts Tagged vegan
book review: We Are the Weather
Posted by Amy Steele in Books on October 11, 2019
We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer. FSG| September 2019| 272 pages | $25.00| ISBN: 978-0-374-28000-0
“The truth is I don’t care about the planetary crisis—not at the level of belief. I make efforts to overcome my emotional limits: I read the reports, watch the documentaries, attend the marches. But my limits don’t budge. If it sounds like I’m protesting too much or being too critical—how could someone claim indifference to the subject of his own book? —it’s because you also have overestimated your commitment while underestimating what is required.”
Okay so two things: I have been a vegan for 15 years and was vegetarian for at least a decade prior to that; I am a fan of Jonathan Safran Foer. Eating Animals and Here I Am are favorites of mine. I always recommend Eating Animals to people. And it’s not that I wouldn’t recommend We Are the Weather but I just didn’t like it that much. I wasn’t impressed. It’s a self-exploration of why Foer isn’t doing more or caring more. This is the book someone writes to appease guilt. It’s an existential search for why he cannot sustain a vegan diet and lifestyle. It’s well-written and researched–the book provides plenty of facts to back up the thesis that factory farming affects climate change. Foer writes: “Climate change is the greatest crisis humankind has ever faced, and it is a crisis that will always be simultaneously addressed together and faced alone. We cannot keep the kinds of meals we have known and also keep the planet we have known. We must either let some eating habits go or let the planet go. It is that straightforward, that fraught.” This book didn’t move me as much as Eating Animals moved me.
Utilizing family history, notable the Holocaust and WWII, Foer states the importance of decreasing meat consumption for the common good. Foer notes: “Ninety-six percent of American families gather for a Thanksgiving meal. That is higher than the percentage of Americans who brush their teeth every day, have read a book in the last year, or have ever left the state in which they were born. It is almost certainly the broadest collective action—the largest wave—in which Americans partake.”
I understand something is better than nothing and I’d like everyone to reduce meat, dairy, poultry and fish consumption. As someone who is first and foremost vegan for the animals, I can’t relate to the sentiment that it’s okay to sometimes eat fish or meat or sometimes have dairy ice cream if someone says they’re vegan. It isn’t a “cheat” diet. There are dire consequences. Foer writes: “According to Project Drawdown, four of the most effective strategies for mitigating global warming are reducing food waste, educating girls, providing family planning and reproductive healthcare, and collectively shifting to a plant-rich diet.”
Most people remain ignorant to the impact of their diets. They’re not morally opposed to consuming animal products. They also don’t think that an individual’s choices will affect the greater good. They’re wrong. He states: “When I first chose to become vegetarian, as a nine-year-old, my motivation was simple: do not hurt animals. Over the years, my motivations changed—because the available information changed, but more importantly, because my life changed. As I imagine the case for most people, aging has proliferated my identities. Time softens ethical binaries and fosters a greater appreciation of what might be called the messiness of life.” He makes these types of statements but by the end of the book I still don’t understand these other motivations and why it’s so hard for Foer not to be 100% vegan. If you want to be vegetarian or omnivore then that’s your choice. It’s not, however, difficult to commit to being vegan if you’re in it for the right reasons. And if you’re committed to helping the environment, then it’s critical that you make changes in your diet.
Here’s some notable facts from the book:
–“There have been five mass extinctions. All but the one that killed the dinosaurs were caused by climate change.”
–“Since the advent of agriculture, approximately twelve thousand years ago, humans have destroyed 83 percent of all wild mammals and half of all plants.”
–“Sixty percent of all mammals on Earth are animals raised for food.”
–“There are approximately thirty farmed animals for every human on the planet.”
–“In 2018, more than 99 percent of the animals eaten in America were raised on factory farms.”
–“Humans eat sixty-five billion chickens per year.”
–“On average, Americans consume twice the recommended intake of protein.”
–“The four highest-impact things an individual can do to tackle climate change are eat a plant-based diet, avoid air travel, live car-free, and have fewer children.”
–review by Amy Steele
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Farrar Straus Giroux.
cookbook review: Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse
Posted by Amy Steele in Books, vegan/ vegetarian on February 21, 2016
Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse by Elina Fuhrman. Da Capo Press| February 2016| 265 pages | $24.99| ISBN: 978-0-7382-1888-5
The subtitle: Plant-Based Soups and Broths to Heal Your Body, Calm Your Mind, and Transform Your Life. Who doesn’t want all that? I’m in! Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse is packed with data about a plant-based diet to absorb before even diving into the cleanse. Why are cooking vegetables better than raw? Less bacteria, easier to digest and easier mineral absorption. In the chapter Diving In, author Elina Fuhrman discusses various tools and ingredients. She includes fascinating and useful facts about tons of veggies, fungi, legumes, fruits, spices and oils.
Arugula and romaine alkalize your system and clear your colon. Avocado has amino acids needed for effective liver detox. Cauliflower contains vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids! Cucumber flushes toxins and reduces heat and inflammation. Cabbage is another anti-inflammatory. Sweet potatoes “are known to fight cancer, but also elevate mood and slow down aging.” Onion boosts immunity and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
My favorite and most-used spices are cardamom, coriander, turmeric and cumin. Cardamom: “In Ayurveda, cardamom is prescribed to bring joy and clarity to the mind.” Coriander stimulates blood and relieves infections. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-aging power spice! Cumin operates as a digestive aid that “is an antidote to weakness and fatigue.”
Fuhrman explains: “Even though my delicious soups began as a way to heal myself, they became so much more than that.” She writes: “Healthy plant-based, veg-centered eating and wellness are taking the world by storm, infusing the media and pop culture and raising a new generation of healthy eaters. I’m so very proud to be a voice in this wellness revolution that I believe will transform the world and our health.”
Here’s the Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse summary:
Eat—eat one soup at each meal
Snack—snack on broths and some raw veggies
Drink—drink plenty of water between meals
Eliminate—you should have two bowel movements per day during the soup cleanse
Rest—“energy levels will fluctuate on a day-to-day and moment-to-moment basis. Listen to your gut.”
Avoid—avoid coffee, any sugar, animal protein, dairy, alcohol, wheat, nicotine, processed foods and fried foods
Consider—add wheatgrass and turmeric shots into the plan
Sleep—focus on how WELL you sleep not how long
Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse is divided into these sections: Introduction: My Walk into Wellness; Soup Up; The Balancing Act; Diving In; Soup-Rises; Soupelina Secrets—Make It Your Soup Cleanse; Time to Soup; The Recipes—Blended Soups, Chunky Soups, Broths, Raw Soups; I Am Done with the Cleanse; Now What?; Listen to Your Gut; Find Your Soup-Er Calm.
Recipes include: Cauliflower Me, Maybe?!; And the Beet Goes On; I Yam Who I Yam; With My Chick-a-Peas; Oh Snap!; The Perks of Being a Purple Cauliflower; I Don’t Carrot All What They Say.
This is a cleanse I’ll definitely do and soups I will make and enjoy. Soup is easy and filling and nutritious and delicious. Fuhrman uses a Vitamix which a costly appliance for many [$300-4600]. I’ll do what I can with the blender I own. You can eat these healthy and healing soups anytime not just on a cleanse. I highly recommend this #Soupelina cleanse and cookbook.
Elina Fuhrman is the founder and chef of Soupelina.
FTC Disclosure: I received these cookbooks for review from Da Capo Press.
–review by Amy Steele
purchase at Amazon: Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse: Plant-Based Soups and Broths to Heal Your Body, Calm Your Mind, and Transform Your Life
cookbook review: Clean Green Eats
Posted by Amy Steele in Books, vegan/ vegetarian on December 7, 2015
Clean Green Eats by Candice Kumai. HarperWave| 2015| $27.99| ISBN: 9780062388735
This is not a vegan cookbook but it’s a great starting point for those considering a vegan diet. Many vegan recipes included and those that aren’t can be veganized. It’s a visually stunning cookbook and there are numerous recipes in it that I enjoy: Roasted Kabocha Squash Salad; Sweet Kale Lemonade; Coconut-Date Scones; Kale Quinoa Tabbouleh; Parsnip and Leek Detox Soup; Green Matcha Tea Loaf Cake and Homemade Coconut Cake. Being clean and green means using less ingredients. The recipes are relatively straight-forward and don’t require impossible to locate ingredients.
I saw Candice Kumai on The Wendy Williams Show. Wendy went vegan recently and Candice shared several of her green recipes. Being clean green, she utilizes on many deep healthy greens like kale and broccoli rabe in her recipes. Here’s how Candice describes clean eating: “A lifestyle that involves consuming real food in or as close to its most natural state as possible. Eating to nourish and cleanse the body and mind. Educating yourself on where food comes from. Purchasing or growing foods that are nutritious, unprocessed, and sustainable.” She shares a green cleanse—a two week cleanse with green juices and avoiding dairy, added sugar, animal protein, alcohol, caffeine. Some clean detox foods include cabbage, cilantro, coconut oil, avocado, collard greens, extra-virgin olive oil, melon, kale and miso paste.
Clean Green Eats is divided into these sections: How to Eat Again; The Clean Green Cleanse; Clean Green Cleansing Juices and Smoothies; Green and Gorgeous Breakfasts and Brunches; Clean Green Salads; Clean Green Soups; Clean Green Snacks; Clean Green Burgers and Sandwiches; Clean Green Sides; Clean Green Veggie Mains; Clean Green Meat Mains; Clean Green Pizzas and Pastas; Clean Green Sweets and Treats; Clean Green Basics; and Ten Clean Green Salad Dressings.
At 23, Candice Kumai was the youngest chef competing on the first season of Top Chef. Her previous cookbooks include Cook Yourself Thin, Pretty Delicious, Cook Yourself Sexy and Clean Green Drinks.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Harper Collins.
cookbook review: Salad Samurai
Posted by Amy Steele in Books, vegan/ vegetarian on June 28, 2014
Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero. Publisher: Da Capo Press/ Lifelong Books (June 2014). Cooking/Vegan. Paperback. 180 pages. ISBN 978-0-7382-1487-0.
Big salads are a major component of my diet. I eat them year round. Usually that’s my dinner. I make great salads. The key is adding as many extras, as much color and variety as possible. So I looked forward to checking out the recipes in Veganomicon co-author Terry Hope Romero’s latest. She divides it by season making it super easy to pick what’s fresh and available.
Some yummy, creative salads include Strawberry Spinach Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing; Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl; Asparagus Pad Thai Salad; East-West Roasted Corn Salad; Green Papaya Salad with Lemongrass Tofu; Polish Summer Soba Salad; Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad; Grilled Miso Apples & Brussels Sprouts Salad and Almond Falafel Crunch Bowl. Gorgeous pictures, excellent tips and simple instructions included.
There’s a section on salad dressings (something I don’t make myself often enough) and a section on salad toppings. In the dressings section, the Creamy Cilantro Lime dressing, Lemon Tahini dressing, Upstate dressing [sundried tomato, nutritional yeast, tahini, apple cider vinegar], the Marvelous Miso dressing are relatively easy and delicious. The toppings section includes ways to prepare croutons, tofu [there’s Ginger Beer Tofu and That 70s Tofu], seitan and lentils to bulk up salads.
There’s lots of vegan deliciousness in these pages.
–review by Amy Steele
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Da Capo Press.
PETA Features Vegetarian/Vegan Celebs on Stamps
Posted by Amy Steele in Film, TV, vegan/ vegetarian on November 24, 2013
–PETA has launched a limited-edition sheet of U.S. postage PhotoStampsTM featuring famous vegetarians throughout history.
Read more: http://www.peta.org/features/famous-vegetarian-postage-stamp-series/#ixzz2lZwz6TVm
Stella McCartney: “[Vegetarianism is] a philosophy of how you conduct your life and time on the planet. … One of the things I was taught growing up was, ‘Do unto others as you would have done to yourself.’”
Sarah Silverman: “When I was 9 or 10 years old, my dad took me over to a neighboring farm to help get stuff for the meal. The farmer, Vic, told me to look at all the turkeys and pick one out. I saw a cute one with a silly walk and cried, ‘Him!’ Before my pointing finger had even dropped to my side, Vic had grabbed the turkey by the neck and slit [the animal’s] throat. Blood and feathers went flying. I had sentenced that turkey to death! Up until then, I didn’t know where meat came from—and I’ve been a vegetarian ever since.”
Bob Barker: “The answer to enjoying life is nutrition. I recommend that you become a vegetarian and exercise if you want to enjoy the golden years. … I became a vegetarian about 25 years ago, and I did it out of concern for animals. But I immediately began having more energy and feeling better.”
Edie Falco: “Once you’ve seen [the undercover factory-farming footage], you can’t pretend you didn’t. It’s over. The stamp is in my brain, and the idea that we commit such atrocities against animals—it will be our fatal flaw as humans, I think, to not bring the situation to light and stop it.”
Natalie Portman: “Eating for me is how you proclaim your beliefs three times a day. That is why all religions have rules about eating. Three times a day, I remind myself that I value life and do not want to cause pain to or kill other living beings. That is why I eat the way I do.”
Sir Paul McCartney: “If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.”
Morrissey: “I think animals look to humans for protection, and of course humans lead them into slaughterhouses, which to me is just like an image of leading children into a slaughterhouse. There’s no difference.” Morrissey’s stringent views on vegetarianism inspired his album with The Smiths’ titled Meat is Murder.
Read more: http://www.peta.org/features/famous-vegetarian-postage-stamp-series/#ixzz2lZxOuyHh
The Cheesy Vegan: cookbook review
Posted by Amy Steele in Books, vegan/ vegetarian on October 17, 2013
The Cheesy Vegan by John Schlimm. Publisher: Da Capo (2013). Cooking/ Vegetarian & Vegan. Paperback Original. 244 pages. ISBN 978-0-345-7382-1679-9.
John Schlimm embraces the comfortable with this cookbook as well as his others: Grilling Vegan Style and The Tipsy Vegan. If you’ve become a vegan for health reasons, Schlimm’s got your covered. Drink, grill and now make your own cheese or indulge in all kinds of cheesy recipes with the assistance of this new cookbook. Making vegan food too similar to meat remains a pet peeve for me. I gave up meat for many reasons. I don’t need any reminders. But I don’t want to get personal. Also I’m not going to discuss the cruelties involved in the dairy industry. You can do your own research.
Chapters include: The DIY Vegan Cheese Kitchen; Breakfast & Brunch; Soups & Salads; Sides; Sandwiches; Appetizers & Snacks; Suppers; Mac ‘n’ Cheese; Cheesecake; Vegan Cheese Pairings: Wine, Beer & Cocktails.
In the first chapter—DIY Vegan Cheese Kitchen—Schlimm tells readers how to make different kinds of cheese such as nooch cheese. Cheese made with nutritional yeast, one of a vegan’s favorite ingredients. I already make this all the time and like it. I use it as an occasional pasta sauce and for mac and cheez and greens. To make cheddar, brie, swiss and mozzarella he uses either cashews or pine nuts. I just don’t have the equipment or kitchen space to be doing this. If I really feel I need some fake cheese, I’d just buy some soy or rice cheese slice from Whole Foods or the health food store. Sclimm has a feta recipe that requires tofu, miso paste, rice wine vinegar and nutritional yeast which I ‘m most likely to try at some point. I’ve made a faux ricotta cheese for vegan lasagna from tofu.
The rest of the cookbook consists of recipes—125– using the cheese he made in the first chapter or substituting store-bought faux cheese. Honestly I’m not all that impressed. But newer vegans or those who really really miss cheese will adore this cookbook. In the United States, cheese gets added to everything. Sometimes too often.
–review by Amy Steele
book review: Vegan for Her
Posted by Amy Steele in Books, vegan/ vegetarian on August 7, 2013
Vegan for Her by Virginia Messina, MPH, RD. Publisher: Da Capo Press/ Lifelong Books (2013). Health and Fitness/ Diets. Softcover. 382 pages. ISBN 978-0-7382-1671-3.
Useful information for vegans and those transitioning to or considering a vegan diet. Well-organized and addresses life stages and health issues that most concern women.
Part One: Going Vegan
Part Two: Healthy Eating for All the Times of a Woman’s Life
–includes diet and hormones, enhancing fertility, nutrition for pregnancy and breastfeeding and the female vegan athlete
Part Three: Lifelong Health for Vegan Women
–includes aging, weight issues, controlling diabetes, strong heart and managing stress and depression
Part Four: Recipes
Useful information I culled from this book:
“Higher intake of fruits and vegetables might also help vegans avoid weight gain. These foods have bulk and volume because of their fiber and water content, which contributes to a feeling of fullness. Their rich phytochemical content could help with weight control, too. For example, the compound resveratrol, which is found in red grapes, grape juice, red wine, and peanuts, might increase activity of enzymes that induce fat breakdown.”
“Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables might aid in skin protection because they actually accumulate in the skin. Lycopene found in tomatoes is one of them, which may explain why consuming tomato paste can actually reduce sunburn damage.”
“Two compounds in plant foods—lutein and zeaxanthin—are especially protective against age-related eye problems. They are actually pigments that accumulate in the eye and filter out harmful ultraviolet light. Spinach, broccoli, kale, and corn are good sources of both.”
–Nutrients for strong bones–
Calcium—collard and turnip greens, kale, bok choy, figs, tahini
Vitamin D—sunlight, 600-1000 IUs of vit D
Protein—legumes, grains, nuts, seeds
Vitamin K—leafy green vegetables (fat enhances absorption of vit K so sauté in oil)
Vitamin C—fruits and veggies
Potassium—legumes, avocado, beet greens, spinach, sweet potatoes, bananas
Magnesium—whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables
–stress and depression in women has been linked to inflammation
–vitamin D has been shown to improve depression
–Vitamin B6 is needed for the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters, including serotonin (low serotonin levels have been implicated in depression). Vegans get plenty of B6 through diet sources such as bananas, avocado, potatoes, leafy green vegetables and soyfoods.
–Vitamin B12 is needed for nerve cell function and inadequate intake leads to neurological problems including cognitive decline and depression. Vegans need a supplement of 25 mcg daily.
–review by Amy Steele
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Da Capo Press.
VEGAN EATS: summer casserole and salad
Posted by Amy Steele in vegan/ vegetarian on August 27, 2012
Nana’s Tomato and Summer Squash Casserole
my grandmother used to make this for me. instead of Parmesan cheese, I put nutritional yeast on top. baked at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. layered summer squash and tomato slices. put some Earth Balance margarine and nutritional yeast on top. covered with tin foil and baked in oven.
Chickpea/ Couscous/ Fresh Veggies Salad
super easy and yummy. cook couscous. add grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumber and chickpeas. I add poppy dressing but any dressing works.
cookbook review: Grilling Vegan Style
Posted by Amy Steele in Books, vegan/ vegetarian on May 29, 2012
Grilling Vegan Style by John Schlimm. Publisher: Da Capo Press (May 15, 2012). Cooking. Paperback. 240 pages. 978-0738215723.
When people [including me] think grilling, they think about throwing meat on a grill, charring it and throwing it on a bun. When Grilling Vegan Style arrived in the mail, the mouth-watering, creative recipes instantly delighted me. Fruit and veggies and seitan on the grill. Delicious! Now I need to buy a grill.
The lovely, appetizing food pictures make this cookery book one you just might put on your coffee table. Mouth-watering items such as pasta salad with grilled summer vegetables, Italian Herb burgers on Focaccia, Mexican Tortilla Burger and Maple-Soy Tempeh over rice. Then there are drinks like Sassy Sangria, Mojito Mojo and Sweet Tea. For dessert there’s Grilled Peaches with Raspberry Sauce, Fruity Kebabs Brushed with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon and Mint as well as Grilled Pineapple Rings with Sorbet. Of course there are plenty of marinades and delicious sauces. There’s something for everyone’s palate in this cookbook.
It’s organized quite well with sections that include: The Basics of Firing Up; Flame Meets Tofu, Seitan, Tempeh and more; Backyard Bites; Summertime Salads; Fired-Up Sides; Tapas on the Deck; Country Marinades for Tofu, Tempeh & Seitan; The Burgers are Ready; New Tailgating Classics; Supper Under the Stars; Picnic Desserts; Grillside Happy Hour. The index organizes by recipes as well as food items. So you can find nearly everything you’d like.
Not only is author John Schlimm a member of one of the oldest brewing companies in the United States, he holds a master’s degree from Harvard.
–review by Amy Steele
purchase at Amazon: Grilling Vegan Style: 125 Fired-Up Recipes to Turn Every Bite into a Backyard BBQ
book review: The Lean
Posted by Amy Steele in Books, vegan/ vegetarian on May 13, 2012
The Lean by Kathy Freston. Publisher: Weinstein Books (March 2012). Health/nutrition. Hardcover. 352 pages. 978-1602861732.
“Eating consciously, moving your body, and doing inner work puts you on track with that evolutionary impulse to transcend who you were before and be your very best.”
I have a girl crush on Kathy Freston. She’s a smart, beautiful vegan so it’s relatively easy. Her latest book, The Lean, provides a 30-Day plan for anyone to ease into better nutritional and a healthy lifestyle. This is all about a plant-based diet. A vegan diet. There’s nothing scary about it and Freston doesn’t shock anyone into it. By providing an assignment each day, the reader can see how s/he feels after doing whatever Freston suggests. Some are easy—drink eight glasses of water, eat a hearty breakfast, eat an apple each day—and some aren’t that easy for some people—eat a meatless lunch, add flax, swap out milk for non-dairy version, reduce/eliminate sugar.
Freston provides ample suggestions and encouragement throughout The Lean. She includes delicious recipes to make it much simpler to follow this plan. The Lean reveals a plethora of facts about various foods [one apple gives you an average of 4.4 grams of fiber], how food works in our systems and where food comes from. The appendix contains suggestions on what to keep in the pantry to keeping costs down to a list of resources.
I consider myself 90% vegan. An ongoing struggle involves eliminating sugar. I use cane sugar and sometimes agave and sometimes Stevia but it’s not good enough and I know it. But I’m aware of it and working on it. I will also eat small amounts of cheese if I’m out somewhere and it’s on a salad. Freston’s goal is to change our thinking and our relationship toward food. She wants us to feel better and be energetic and healthy by consuming a plant-based diet. It’s such a great book. Everyone needs to read The Lean.
A few interesting bits:
“Apples not only have antimutagenic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects, but they may even enhance our immune systems to help clear out any budding tumors before they get their start.”
“Nuts appear to boost our metabolism, meaning when we eat nuts we burn more of our own fat to compensate.”
“When you consume a lot of meat, your body produces an excess of uric acid. Uric acid is a waste product in the liver’s metabolism of DNA, and when you eat too much meat, your body isn’t able to eliminate it.” [I think this is the source of smelly guys at the gym.]
“Chia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and a good source of protein.”
“A few years ago I discovered a supplement called nopal cactus, which is said to support lower blood sugar and take sugar cravings away.”
purchase at Amazon: The Lean: A Revolutionary (and Simple!) 30-Day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss
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